Aug 21

CAT Leadership Meeting – Monday, August 20, 2012


Meeting began at 6:30PM

In attendance:

Treasurer, Anne Conners;  President, Gary Madine;  vice-President, Roy Young;  Board Members, Charles Lyman & Brian Sherry; Advisory Committee Members,  Kevin Easterling & Jennifer Swann;  and League Cycling Instructor & CAT Member, J Dietrich Reisenberger; plus Director, Steve Schmitt.

CAT Facilities Status Report

1337 E. 5th St (New CAR-FREE.ORG administrative office)

In operation for 3 months
Office hours – 10:30-12:30 Monday-Wednesday-Friday
Secretary, Christin Hottenstein, and Director, Steve Schmitt, usually present during office hours.
Still paying duplicate bills for rent, phone, internet until end of August
President Gary Madine donation covers costs of move including these duplicate costs
Office expenses for new office less than $500/month for phone, internet, rent & supplies
Secretary 6-10 hours/week @ $10/hour, Director’s salary $1,000/month
Should be office for the indefinite future
Next move, 3-5 years, to permanent CAT office in the planned intermodal facility on the greenway

Bethlehem Bicycle Cooperative

 14 W. Raspberry St

(“Old” BBC)



Frank Pavlick and his friends did a phenomenal job moving the bulk of the bike parts, tools and supplies from the old BBC to the new BBC.  As you can see from these before and after pictures there was a lot to move.  These pictures show only 25% of the floor space at the old site.
We are on target to be cleaned out of this facility by the end of August.  We still need volunteers to clean, sort, transport and shop-sit at the old place during regular hours on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Our landlord recently rewrote our last lease inflating our monthly rent 250% for August.  Although we were supposed to have a year notice to move because of improvements we made to the building , our landlord said we never got that in writing.  Bottom line:  we owe $830 for the rent in August; Steve is going to try to settle for original agreed rent in most recent lease of $325.

Broad & Guetter bus terminal completely cleaned during Musikfest

Broad & Guetter Adopt-a-bus Stop Program to continue

Although we are moving away from this terminal and will not have an office or shop close by for the first time in 15 years,  CAT will continue 14-year old Adopt-a-bus Stop program at Broad & Guetter Streets thanks to the donation of space by the Bethlehem Parking Authority to store cleaning supplies and equipment in the lowest level of the North Street Garage.   Before the program this bus stop (used by 4,000 bus riders daily) was an unsafe eyesore.  Graffiti, vandalism and drug dealing prevailed.
This terminal will continue to be cleaned every day by bus riders working for bus passes.  No litter means a safer environment.  Other issues are promptly reported to the appropriate authorities.
CAT will start a new campaign to raise money based on our 14 year record of keeping the Broad & Guetter bus terminal clean.  The CAT Adopt-a-bus Stop Program at Broad & Guetter is supported by 5 monthly LANta bus passes donated by the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority.  The Authority provides all  cleaning supplies and equipment, too.  Th e Adopt-a-bus Stop Program at Broad & Guetter is coordinated by James Kinlaw, working with Steve Schmitt.  Many local businesses have contributed cash to the program over the years to help keep downtown Bethlehem an attractive shopping destination and vibrant employment base.  We are assisted in creating a more formal and hopefully fruitful fundraising campaign by a company called CRM that is helping us use a new software product they are trying to market to non-profits.  Should the fundraising be successful we will expand the program to include other public spaces downtown such as the Sun Inn Courtyard.

11 W. 2nd St. (New Bethlehem Bicycle Cooperative site)

Opening Thursday, September 6, 2012

The new BBC is on the 2nd  floor in the parking garage of Starters/Steel Fitness and the Riverport Condominium Association (see map).  The space is much smaller than our existing site, but is large enough to continue our education classes, Bicycle Heaven Rides and Bicycle Library program.
The new BBC will be open Thursday, September 6th.  We will have the same hours we have had for 18 years, Thursdays 5-9PM and Saturdays 8AM to 4PM.   Scott Slingerland (bike director) is still in South Carolina, but will be back in early September.  Bicycle mechanic classes will resume when Scott returns.  Bicycle Education events have been coordinated by Steve Schmitt and League Cycling Instructor Lisa Roberts in Scott’s absence.  Steve has asked Scott to train Lisa to continue directing bike education events.

Bethlehem Bicycle Cooperative @ 1935 W. Broad St (BBC West)

We can’t open the new Bethlehem Bicycle Cooperative in the West End of Bethlehem until we pass electric inspection.  Property owner Barrett Ladd is working on this.  League Cycling Instructor, J. Reisenberger has been stripping out bad materials at the site and replacing, painting and generally cleaning.  This place still needs work, electrical, light construction and painting.  (Roy Young sending email to his scout troop asking for more community service workers.)
BBC West to open Wednesday evenings and Sundays for bike education classes, Bicycle Heaven Rides and and the Bicycle Library.  Opening date is unknown at this time.
Long term plan in a year or two:  open a bike shop in the facility to pay the rent and utilities.  J. Reisenberger may qualify under the G.I. Bill for business loan; he wants to run a bike shop and lives in this neighborhood.  CAT could help J. with tools and supplies that we would have in place. Barrett would have to go through zoning again to get a permit to have a bike shop in his building.
We hope to show this business model of putting educational bike cooperatives in retail bike shops is viable and to expand this model to other bike shops.  Go for not for profit on the off hours – retail during regular hours.

Bicycle Advocacy

Shared Lane Markings

Our newest markings are located on Broad street.  As with all SLMs, the markings remind cyclists to stay off the sidewalk while riding well out in the street to avoid being hit by turning motorists at intersections or parked car doors opening.  The markings also remind motorists that cyclists should be expected in the roadway.  All placements were supervised by Steve Schmitt.  The SLMs are part of a streetscape project  designed to get drivers to slow down when approaching downtown Bethlehem.
Bicycle parking included in new downtown  Bethlehem construction

Bicycle Heaven in Bethlehem 

CAT has been working with the City of Bethlehem for so long on bicycle advocacy issues that the City automatically included bicycle parking as part of the project to rejuvenate the streetscape at the corner of Market and Main Streets in downtown Bethlehem.  Pictures of Johnny’s bagels shows that the spaces are being used.

Musikfest Bicycle Parking

Bike parking very popular once again at the 10-day music festival.  For the first time the “PedalPlatz” on the South Side near the SteelStacks Main Stage was a popular way to avoid parking a car at the popular festival.  Musikfest Bicycle Parking for the last 14 years has beens CAT’s most effective way to recruit new cycling members.

CAT is working with the Mayor and Police Commissioner of Bethlehem to take the bicycle education message to the next level by producing simple, yet interesting short videos explaining the principles of riding a bicycle in traffic.  The videos would be used in traditional media as well as on CAR-FREE.ORG website and our facebook, twitter and other social media programs.  Here are the messages we are trying to emphasize.

  • Ride the same direction as other vehicles
  • Stay off the sidewalk
  • Stop for red lights
  • Use lights at night
  • Avoid the door zone of parked cars

The company recommended by the mayor to make the videos suggests a budget of $20,000.  Steve says he would like to work with Commissioner Schiffer to raise this money.  It’s important to create a campaign to educate cyclists because the bicycle surveys conducted by CAT for PennDOT show bicycle behavior is very unsafe.  Not only does this lead to a lot of crashes involving illegally operated bicycles, but the general public perceives bicyclists as lawbreakers.   CAT has put a lot of properly operated and maintained bicycles on the road over the past 20 years, but we need a way to reach more people.

Kevin Easterling points out CAT needs to have  more partners in order to increase our impact.  He notes that when Allentown tried to prevent riding bikes near the new areana, the idea was defeated by a coordinated effort from cyclists, skateboarders and neighborhood leaders.

The leadership discuss the need for enforcement to complement any bicycle education programming.  Steve reports the effort to have magistrates provide alternative sentencing for cyclists cited for breaking the law is under review by the President Judge of Northampton County.  The program offers Traffic Skills 101 classes in lieu of a fine for cycling infractions.

Steve suggests reaching out to Ken Stanford, whose son died recently in a bike crash in Catasauqua for lack of helmet.   Stanford could be helpful in involving the child education stakeholders in the creation and funding of the videos.  He has already worked with CAT to put on a safety event in Catty.



In office campaigns

SalesForce (new software program recently installed at CAT) is designed to help with fundraising.
Microsoft Access, currently used as a database program in the office is cumbersome and difficult to use for phone calls, maintaining member contact information/records and to conduct fundraising campaigns.  The new program is simple (secretary loves it).  Push a button and send an email to everyone who parked a bicycle at Musikfest for example.
Proposed campaigns for immediate future using the new software:
New members from bike riders to Musikfest
Member renewal and previous giver reminders effort
Broad & Guetter Adopt-a-bus Stop Campaign
We plan to conduct a more sophisticated fundraising campaigns, that will capitalize on 18 years of service to the community.

Monocacy Way Walk

Run director quit just weeks before the Monocacy Way Run in June, but we still broke even anyway.  As we need to make new signs to mark the Run for 2013, Steve thought we might invest in some more permanent signs.  Director thought we might as well hold a 5K Walk in the Fall, too. A 5K Walk on the Monocacy would use the same signs and other contacts/resources but have a different audience.  The 5K Run is relatively easy to co-ordinate, promotes the urban trail and volunteers enjoy the event.  Question:  should the 5K Walk be held to benefit the horse patrol training program at Bethlehem Police Department which is underfunded.  The horses are stabled on the Monocacy Way.  Fundraising for the police horses resonates with public.

Air Quality

Lehigh Valley Ride Share Task Force

After discussion with the leadership and an analysis of commute to work data, CAT will add Ride Sharing to its long standing four categories of appropriate transportation: Walking, Biking, Public Transportation and Public Trails.  Only 1 in every 2,000 people bike to work, 4% walk, less than 1% take LANta bus, while 86.6% drive by themselves to work.  It seems unlikely that walking, biking or public transportation can significantly impact this last number.  Without significantly changing the percentage of people who drive alone to work, we can not solve the problems of air quality, congestion or the high cost of transportation.
The only way to improve the situation is to shift more people to share the ride.  The young today are more interested in sharing because of social media and communication technology improvements.  The percentage of teens eligible for drivers licenses who postpone getting one has doubled in the last ten years.  John Zimmer, the founder of Zimride, says that 80% of all seats are empty on any highway.  His company recently passed 200 million miles shared and has opened a new promotion for the trip from Washington DC to NYC.    This transformation to a more efficient transportation system with a higher percentage of rides shared will happen whether we are planning for it or not.  Steve suggests we create blogs to explain and accelerate this phenomenon.  The Air Quality Partnership recently agreed to dedicate some of its grant to CAT this year to this effort.

Adopt-a-Bus Stop Program

Unique program recently expanded into Easton thanks to the West Ward Neighborhood Partnership.  LANta bus riders pick up the litter at bus stops in return for free bus rides. The program was funded last year at $9,340 and recently received a 50% increase this year.  The
Northampton Street corridor is remarkably more attractive than just a year ago because of the Adopt-a-bus Stop Program, the sidewalk paver program and the new tree wells, two other programs put in place by the WWNP.  CAT will expand the program to the Walnut/Washington/Ferry Streets Transit Corridor this year.
Meeting ended at 8PM
CAT Leadership meetings are scheduled for every 3rd Monday at 6:30PM at the Board Room in the Forté Building.  If you are driving to the meeting consider sharing the ride.  Maybe you need a ride?  Either way, email or call the office so we can match you up.   cat@car-free.org or 610 954 5744.

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